The short answer to this is no – unless you get an STI (such as chlamydia or trichomoniasis). Sexual arousal and orgasm may cause chemical changes, but they can’t change or disrupt the entire menstrual cycle.
Some variation in cycle length and phase is totally normal, though. Here’s why and how sex might affect your period:.
1. Physical Stimulation
The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, which includes the time leading up to and around ovulation when an egg is released, is where you are most fertile. During this time, estrogen rises and can lead to increased libido. However, as the follicular phase comes to an end and you enter the luteal phase, which lasts until your next period starts, libido typically falls. The uterus’ lining thickens during the luteal phase in preparation for possible pregnancy, but it will also shed if conception does not occur.
Physical stimulation during sexual activity increases blood flow to the uterus, which can change your menstrual cycle. It can make it shorter, longer or more intense, and it can affect the timing of your menstrual cycle. This is because of the release of oxytocin, which is known as the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin can increase libido and make you more sexually active, but it can also trigger the uterus to start its monthly cycle.
It’s important to note that the only way sex will directly change your menstrual cycle is if you get pregnant (which can obviously have other serious effects). However, it’s also important to track your menstrual cycle and communicate with your partner about any changes. And always remember to consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
2. Emotional Stimulation
The ovaries’ natural production of oestrogen, the sex hormone, rises up to its peak right before ovulation. This makes evolutionary sense, because it’s when you’re most fertile and most likely to conceive – but also means that your sex drive may spike around this time of the month. You might notice this if you’re regularly sexually active, and even more so if you’re on the pill.
While it’s not known if this has an effect on your cycle length, it’s certainly something to consider. If you’re worried about your sex habits impacting your menstrual cycle, it’s always worth talking to your partner and taking a sperm count test to be safe.
Bleeding during or after sex is not the same as your period, and it could be caused by factors such as vaginal dryness, friction from sex, or infection. Having sex does not delay your period in any way, but if you do have an orgasm, it can make the hormone surge that triggers your period faster – which is why it’s important to track your cycle and take precautions like using a condom.
A study found that memory for gist and detail from an emotional story was enhanced in women during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. However, the follicular (low sex hormone) phase did not show this effect.
3. Hormonal Changes
There are lots of things that can cause changes to your period and menstrual cycle — including lifestyle, emotional and medical factors. Using a period tracker can help you identify what’s going on with your body so that you can plan accordingly.
The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones. Sexual arousal causes a surge of oxytocin and other hormones, which can affect your period. It is also known that women who have regular sex tend to have longer, more consistent cycles than those who are celibate.
What sex can do is cause your period to start earlier than normal if it occurs during the follicular phase of your cycle (when the womb lining thickens and prepares for an egg to be released) or during ovulation. Sex can also prompt your uterus to contract if you have an orgasm, which may help your period come out early.
Hormone levels change throughout a woman’s lifetime, and they can be affected by many factors, including stress, eating habits and environmental toxins. However, they can also be impacted by underlying health conditions such as thyroid disease and diabetes. These hormonal fluctuations can make it harder to know when your period is coming or if you are pregnant. If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for advice.
As we know, stress can impact the hormones that regulate our menstrual cycles. This can lead to changes in your cycle length and even cause your period to be late or early. In fact, the coronavirus pandemic led to a lot of stress for a lot of women which in turn can alter their periods.
The good news is that sex itself will not delay your period but the arousal can. Sex causes a surge in hormones which can throw off the timing of your cycle. This doesn’t make it very late though as it is usually only delayed by a day or so. If you have a very late period it is wise to do a pregnancy test just to be safe.
If your period is regularly late then it is a good idea to check in with your doctor as there could be an underlying issue. Things like extreme stress, a change in your birth control method and weight changes can all affect your period. Amenorrhea (missing a period for three months) is something to talk to your doctor about too.
It’s important to remember that small variations in your menstrual cycle are normal. It is also important to use a period app like Clue to help you track your hormones and keep track of when it feels best for you to have sex.